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First ID cards with fingerprints issued this week

18:45 15/01/2020

Belgium is rolling out new identity cards that include the cardholder’s fingerprints. Everyone getting a new card or renewing it will have to provide a print of each finger on a special device that is being installed in administrative offices.

The fingerprints will be recorded on the card’s chip, along with other identification data. The first card in the new style was administered to the mayor of Lokeren in East Flanders on Tuesday.

The fingerprints are also being stored temporarily in a central databank, which has led to criticism from citizens worried about privacy. While Belgium’s Privacy Commission also expressed concerns about the fingerprint regulation, called it “excessive”, federal security and interior minister Pieter De Crem said it was in keeping with new regulations demanded by the European Union and would help fight ID fraud.

Everyone receiving a card must comply with the fingerprint regulation, including minors. The new cards are being rolled out systematically across the country. Because ID cards are valid for 10 years, it will take at least that long for everyone to have the new card.

Written by Lisa Bradshaw